Thursday, 9 January 2014

Don Jon (2013)

I've apparently made quite the social faux pas before when I've said "Every single man has..." so I'm a bit wary to say this but here it goes: All men, at least in this generation, watch porn to some degree.

This is an issue that Don Jon deals with, and uses to hold a mirror up to ourselves  (hopefully not during the course of... well). Jon "The Don" Martello (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a proper New Jersey lad in every sense. He cars about few things: his family, the gym, getting girls and his porn. Every week he goes out and pulls a girl, every time, but it never quite lives up to when he loses himself in his porn. That is, until he meets Barbara (Scarlett Johansson) and she asks him to give up one thing for her.

At first glance, and especially from the trailers, Don Jon seems like a bit of a standard comedy that's trying to push it with the subject material. I expected the basic premise to be "Oops, caught out watching porn again Jon!", but it's a bit more thought provoking than that. It even manages to deal with the immersion breaking question of why anyone needs porn with Scarlett Johansson available whenever she's up for it.

Again, it's not just about porn. Everyone in the film is a bit fucked up with issues they need to deal with. It's largely about what we expect life to be like and what we actually get. We criticise people who invest so much time and faith in things that are completely fake and ridiculous without realising that we do exactly the same with something else.

Don Jon is a triumph for first-time director JGL. The path it takes towards the end might seema little conceited and trite considering how realistic the rest is, but it manages to be thought provoking and funny throughout. And it's not just "oh aren't we funny talking about porn?" type funny but a more mature, ironic humour where if characters would just look at themselves they'd see how crazy they were.

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